Today I found myself in a situation (I am good at that!) Someone called and was quite desperate about their pet dog who was doing poorly. They needed funds so they could have it treated and was hoping that the church might have some “fund” that might help out! So in a discussion with someone ELSE about it I got into expressing my views of pets. This individual was an animal lover and was quite shocked at some of the things I had to say! So later I did get an email expressing their disappointment in my views. This is what I wrote back:
Yes, I know I get into a lot of trouble with animal lovers like yourself. And I say that with great respect. I know your heart is in the right place. It is a good heart. I am too “blunt” in what I say sometimes. But I don’t mean ANY disrespect to animals. I really love animals too! Believe it or not! And yes, they ARE created by God – AND it is our responsibility to care for them and not harm or abuse them.
But the important thing to understand about animals is that they are not humans. I don’t want to “disrespect” animals, but it is important to give them PROPER respect (not “over-respecting” them.) The reality is that an animal’s intrinsic worth given by God is not anything compared with humans. Jesus died for humanity, not for dogs or cats. We read in Genesis that all of creation was created for the benefit of us HUMANS. HOW do we know that God loves us? ONE reason is that he gives us such beautiful animals that we can love and care for – and which learn to “love” us and “care” for us as well (it seems it, anyway!)
The reality is that millions upon millions of wild animals die constantly from easily curable diseases, much worse than “Doogy’s” problems. There is no outrage about this. There is no cry of their blood calling up from the earth like the cry of Abel’s blood. And what of all the animals we eat day in and day out? We killed them! We didn’t even just let them die of their diseases or old age, we KILLED them! We wouldn’t even have to kill them either! We could very easily live without meat, but we kill them anyway! And the scripture says that we can! God decreed after the Fall that the animals were there FOR US to eat!
As I am writing this I am thinking this through and realizing something: The domestication of animals. It was just not always the case that animals were domesticated. This developed over time. Why do we have domesticated dogs and cats as pets? Why do we love them so? We acquire them and love them because they supply relationships where we are lacking them.
Why am I so easily “dispassionate” about animals? Maybe it is because I am blessed with good and healthy human relationships. But for those who have problems in their relationships burdened by sin, animals really do supply them with what they need in a substitutionary way. God is good! [But, of course, please don’t get the idea that I am saying that EVERYONE who loves their dogs has wanting human relationships! Many obviously have room for both human and animal relationships!]
Soooo… When it boils down to it, it is really a matter of the value that WE give the animals that drive us to take them to the vet and be willing sometimes to spend thousands of dollars to treat our pets. But we mustn’t think that we should do that because GOD says that we must and that he holds us morally accountable if we don’t. The reality is that there are real human beings that are in much worse health than “Doogy”. They die every day and THEIR blood really DOES call out from the ground.”